The best appetizers have two qualities. They can be made a day or two ahead of time and they are easy to assemble and serve at your tailgate. Bacon cheese can be made, molded and stored in the refrigerator midweek. On gameday, pack the bacon cheese in a cooler and transport to your tailgate. When ready to serve, remove the bacon cheese from the cooler, unwrap and place on a serving platter. Spread a layer of fig jam on top of the cheese and you are ready to go!
Bacon cheese is savory, salty, sweet and creamy. Mascarpone cheese adds a lighter touch to a traditional cream cheese-based spread. Bacon cheese is hearty, not heavy. As an appetizer, it will satisfy your tailgaters while getting them ready to dig in to your main dish.Serve with a cheese knife and an assortment of your favorite crackers, vegetables, or apple slices.
For this image, we used a round bowl, but feel free to use any team themed cheese mold that you might have! If there is any of this appetizer left when the main meal is ready, try spreading bacon cheese on top of your burger!
Bacon Cheese with Fig Jam
Makes about 2 cups of Cheese
8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature
8 ounces Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained on paper towels
4 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange liqueur (we used Cointreau)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 half teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon cayenne paper
1 jar (8.5 ounces) Fig jam (we used Dalmatia Orange Fig Spread)
Put the mascarpone and cream cheese into the work bowl of a food processor. Process until cheeses are blended. Add the brown sugar, orange liqueur, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, mace and cayenne. Process until the cheese mixture is well blended. Break the cooked bacon into large pieces and add to the cheese mixture. Add grated cheddar cheese. Pulse the processor until the bacon and cheddar cheese are just blended into the cheese mixture.
Line a 2 cup ramekin with 2 large sheets of plastic wrap letting the edges of the wrap cascade over outside of the ramekin. Empty the bacon cheese mixture into the ramekin. Wrap the loose ends of plastic wrap over the top of the cheese. Gently press down on the cheese mixture with the palm of your hand so that the ramekin is evenly filled with the bacon cheese. Chill the cheese for several hours in the refrigerator, preferably over night.
To serve the cheese, unwrap the plastic wrap covering the top of the cheese. Invert the ramekin onto a serving plate. Peel the plastic wrap off of the bacon cheese.Top the cheese with the fig jam. Line the platter with crackers and apple slices. Serve.
Recipe ©Sally James Mathis
Photography ©Taylor Mathis